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MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2GB – Review

MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2GB – Review

The incredible Nvidia Pascal architecture has made great strides in benchmarks while making huge improvements to efficiency, but the high price of cards like the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 put them out of reach of most gamers.

Thankfully, the new GeForce GTX 1050 brings the Pascal architecture to a more affordable price, with cards that begin at £110 and end at a reasonable £135.


  • 640 Stream Processors
  • 1,354MHz Core Clock
  • 2GB 128-bit GDDR5
  • 7,000MHz (effective) Memory Clock
  • PCI Express 3.0
  • DisplayPort Ready: 1.4
  • Max Supported Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
  • 1 x DVI, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort

The affordable GTX 1050 is designed for 1080p gaming, so it’s got a cut-back specification when compared to other Pascal products: just 640 stream processors, a base clock of 1,354MHz and 2GB of GDDR5 memory at an effective 7,000MHz.

That won’t allow the new Nvidia card to compete with the market’s best GPUs, but it’s still a step forward from the last generation: the new card has a higher clock speed, quicker memory and more transistors in a smaller die than the GTX 950. That card had more stream processors, but that’s the only area where the GTX 1050 falls behind – and that’s surely a symptom of the new architecture producing more performance with less hardware required.

The GTX 1050’s base clock boosts to a respectable 1,455MHz, and the entire card delivers a throughput of 1.862 TFLOPS – better than the 1.573 TFLOPS of the GTX 950.

The new Nvidia card delivers that level of power while having a TDP of 75W – fifteen Watts lower than the GTX 950. That improved efficiency means that board partners can be more adventurous with their designs for this card.

The MSI model we’ve reviewed, for instance, is small enough to fit inside the snuggest of mini-ITX cases: it’s just 176mm long, with a single 85mm fan and a subtle design in black and silver. It doesn’t need a power connector, which is crucial if you’re upgrading an older PC or a low-end system that lacks the PCIe plugs required.

The market is already busy with similarly small cards, and a couple of larger models are also available. Even the smallest cards come with overclocks: the tweaked equivalent of our MSI-made sample improves the core to 1,404MHz and adds 10MHz to the memory. That’s not the best boost around, either: a larger card from EVGA runs the core at 1,417MHz.

The GTX 1050 has a fine low-end specification, but certain attributes give us cause for concern. The 2GB of memory is underwhelming, with most other gaming cards offering double the amount. With many games developed for consoles with 8GB of memory – albeit memory that’s shared between CPU and GPU – this is one area where titles may become bottlenecked, especially in the future.

A better option could be Nvidia’s own GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. That card costs around £160, so it’s almost thirty pounds more than the best GTX 1050 parts, but its 4GB of GDDR5 memory is a crucial improvement. It’s also got 768 stream processors, a better throughput rate and the same 75W TDP.
There’s competition on the AMD side of the fence, too. The Radeon RX 460 has a similarly modest specification, although it’s available with 2GB and 4GB variants – the former is a little cheaper than the GTX 1050, while the latter is more expensive. If you’re really looking to splash some more cash, the RX 470 is a more capable card with prices just shy of £200.

Test System Specifications

  • Intel Core i7-6700K
  • Asus Z170-A motherboard
  • Samsung 950 Pro SSD
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LP 3,000MHz DDR4
  • GeForce driver 376.33


Nvidia set out to build a 1080p card with the GTX 1050, and benchmark results show that the firm has succeeded.

In Fallout 4 its minimum framerate of 30fps is absolutely fine, and it was bolstered with an average of 35.6fps – another good result using the game’s Ultra settings.

The GTX 1050’s Witcher 3 minimum of 25fps is just about bearable, and its average of 31fps is smoother. That test was also run with Ultra settings, so it’s easy enough to improve framerates by dropping down a little – the game will still look fantastic.

Our third game, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, saw the GTX 1050 return an average of 41.3fps – another smooth result.

Those are all demanding games, so expect better performance in less-intensive titles. The GTX 1050 averaged 71.4fps in Bioshock Infinite and beat 50fps in Dirt Rally, with both games running at Ultra quality levels.

The GTX 1050 plays games at 1080p, but it’s going to struggle at any higher resolution. The GPU’s modest specification is highlighted by its 3D Mark Fire Strike core of 6,384.

That’s a reasonable result – about five hundred points better than the GTX 950 – but it’s miles behind the 10,079 points scored by the AMD Radeon RX 470, and about five hundred points behind the GTX 1050 Ti. At least it’s better than the AMD Radeon RX 460, which scores around 5,000 points in Fire Strike.

The GTX 1050’s modest performance levels did mean that its thermal and power results were consistently good. Our test rig’s peak power consumption of 131W is lower than the rig with the RX 470 and far less than the 171W required by the GTX 950 – so the Pascal architecture is clearly doing its job.

Temperatures remained consistent and low throughout our tests, and the card remained quiet – although your mileage will vary here based on which board partner card you choose.


The GTX 1050 is a solid 1080p card, with 30fps framerates in some of the most demanding games on the market – so this GPU will prove even faster with other games that are less graphically demanding, or when graphics settings are toned down.

It’s a decent 1080p card then, but the modest specification and benchmark results indicate that this Pascal card is going to struggle with anything more – and that doesn’t just include higher single-screen resolutions. It won’t handle VR or multi-monitor setups, either.

That’s fine if you’re dead-set on 1080p, but the card’s clear limitations mean we’d recommend saving for a GTX 1050 Ti if that’s possible – it’ll make your games run faster now, and it’ll provide more headroom for the future.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2GB
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About Author

Mike Jennings

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